President Obama is looking for a Supreme Court nominee with past Republican support, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, offering some of the first indications of the White House criteria in trying to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Biden, in a radio interview, disagreed with Republicans who insist that Obama should let that decision fall to the next president, who will take office next January.
“In order to get this done, the president is not going to be able to go out — nor would it be his instinct, anyway — to pick the most liberal jurist in the nation and put them on the court,” Biden told Minnesota Public Radio. “There are plenty of judges [who] are on high courts already who have had unanimous support of the Republicans.”
There are signs that some Republicans are softening their stance, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s insistence that Obama should not make a nomination.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the Senate should hold hearings on an Obama nominee. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said that a nominee would get her “full attention” and that senators “should carry out our constitutional duty.”
Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired as a justice in 2006, urged that the vacancy on be filled expeditiously. O’Connor, nominated by President Ronald Reagan, said that she disagreed with those calling to wait for the next president. “I think we need somebody there now to do the job,” she said, “and let’s get on with it.”